Seattle Sounders: In a Pit of Frustration

With the recent news of Seattle Sounder’s coach Sigi Schmid being fired, everyone is asking what is going on with the Sounders! To say the least, this hasn’t been their best season and they have little hope of turning things around to make the playoffs. With that being said, I was watching the highlights of their game against Kansas City (the game prior to Sigi getting fired) and it was somewhat comical.

As a pro myself, I understand the frustration that everyone on the field is going through. The pressure is mounting as they continue to not get results from the coaches, fans, and themselves! Their jobs are at stake as there is a higher probability of more turnover after a losing season. All of this is hard to handle and surfaces on the field as frustration.

You see this in all levels of sports but it is probably magnified here on the global stage.  If you are an athlete, you know the feeling of overwhelming frustration… it is brutal and a hard pit to get out of. As I watch the highlights (see below) here is what I noticed.

  • The body language of the sounders team is pitiful.  Even in the beginning of the game, you can see and feel the frustration of the players. Science says body language is contagious, like yawning.  Well, the whole team has caught the bug and is letting their emotions control the way they play. Fortunately we know that we can control body language. Even if you are frustrated, sticking out your chest, being attentive, and ready for battle can mitigate the emotion and lead to a better individual and team performance.
  • Work ethic is another controllable. Watch the highlights and you will see the intensity is so low! Going into every game, you really have very little you can control. Focusing on things you can’t control (getting results, other players performances, or potential contract issues at the end of the season) raises the level of stress and distraction! BUT when you focus on things you can control like work ethic, preparation, visualization, and having a great attitude…results usually take care of themselves
  • Reactions – when you watch the highlights, this is what you don’t want to do! A common coping mechanism when things are not going well is to deflect blame onto other people. Even in soccer, where mistakes happen all the time, you see players throwing up their arms in complete disgust. In turn, KC runs full steam ahead with numbers going to goal while the sounders are on a Sunday jog cursing their teammates mistake.

 As I write this, I know I often let my emotions win, especially when things are not going well. I am not ridiculing the Sounders for their response, as it is very natural. However, I do believe we can learn a lot from it. Body language, work ethic, and how we react to mistakes are all things we can control. Not letting our emotions get the best of us will ultimately get you out of ruts faster and allow you to perform your best. So next time you feel the frustration and stress mounting, cognitively acknowledge the emotion and move on to what you can control.